Generation Nanny By Audrey Brazeel

img_6098Weekly Trip to the Library

Reading Generation Nanny was such a nice break from my reading parenting books to review on my blog. Audrey Brazeel is a gifted writer and her first book was a quick, fun read.

Like the author, I too went to college earning a degree of higher learning expecting to work in the career field of my academic major. But the author only worked as a nanny for a few years and I have found my life’s work and purpose in being a nanny.

She shows that more and more people in her age group with college and teaching degrees are becoming nannies. Often they convince themselves they are going to just be interim nannies until “a real job” comes around. I also said that over 25 years ago but found working as a nanny to be my career choice.

Like many millennials, the author didn’t find living at home with her Mom and Dad, while barely scraping by being paid minimum wage as appealing as nannies that travel the world for free while caring for the babies of wealthy families. Of course, most nanny jobs are not that glamorous.

Although I am from a different generation than the author of Generation Nanny I have learned many of the same lessons and gained some similar opinions about childcare in America, and of privilege, feminism, and women’s rights in my 25 plus years working as a nanny.

She starts her book by sharing stories told to her of her Mother’s and Aunt’s nanny and the impact she had on their childhood and lives in the 1960s and 1970s. Like most of us, the author is ashamed of the history of domestic work in America and the confinement that both race and power had on maids and nannies through the generations.

Ms. Brazeel discusses racism in her book because she feels the history of women of color as caretakers, nannies, maids, and house slaves alongside side the history of white women being their superiors is important. She sees how the evolution of the nanny position has shifted from predominately low-income women of color to young, educated white women. She admits her strong relationship with her employers, even today, would probably be very different if she was male, gay, or a person of color. She admits her struggles working as a nanny don’t compare to those who come before her.

The author admires that nannies help shape the identity of the children in their care and have a profound lifelong impact on the children and families they work with.

But even today, while nannies know every single detail of their employer’s lives, (their likes and dislikes, their milestones and accomplishments), employers typically prefer to not know much about their domestic worker’s life. It’s still an often unseen, under-appreciated job.

Her first story of working as a nanny is not one of a professional making a career. She finds humor in her first nanny job — I see it as a nightmare. But the nanny met a mother who made tremendous sacrifices to provide a better life for her children. Throughout her book the author shares stories of great sacrifice by mothers she witnessed while working as their nanny.

The author makes mistakes. She is not the role model of the perfect nanny. She works without a contract. She accepts nanny jobs paid in cash instead of insisting she be paid legally. She changes nanny jobs often. I would not recommended nanny candidates follow her lead when searching for a nanny job or forging a nanny career. But at the end of the book she lists things nannies can do you protect themselves such as signing a contract and insisting on being paid legally.

The moral of Audrey Brazeel’s story is that working as a nanny is a legitimate job, requiring decent pay, parameters, expectations, limits, and rights to be protected by law. She shows that nannies provide invaluable support to mothers and influence the children in their care immeasurably.

You can purchase your own copy of Generation Nanny by clicking any of the links above or below.

Generation Nanny

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